tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC August 12, 2010 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
at 11:00. have a good night. stay safe. tonight on "world news," wedding date. gay couples poised at the altar as a federal judge says ceremonies can start in less than a week. will the supreme court step in to stop them? rocky road. jobless claims are up. the dow is down. the summer of recovery we all hoped for is stalled. fallen hero? he became an internet star after sliding down his plane's emergency chute. but now some passengers say that flight attendant is the one who started all the trouble. childhood classic. 50 years later, we're still asking, do you bicycle green ecks and hall? but did you know seuss wrote sam i am to win a bet?
good evening. come 5:00 p.m. next wednesday, if you're a gay couple in california, you can get married. a week after ruling the state's voter-approved ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, a federal judge has lifted a stay on his decision and set the date for when marriages can begin. the state's top official say that's fine with them. gay and lesbian couples have already gathered at city halls across the state. if no higher court steps, in those couples will cross the threshold so, we begin tonight with ryan owens in l.a. good evening. >> reporter: good evening to you, george. gay couples were lined up here in los angeles and ready to mary today. that federal judge said, you can, but just not yet. he wants to give opponents of same sex marriage a few more days to file an appeal.
in san francisco, supporters celebrated the judge's decision to lift the ban -- >> i think this is an amazing day. >> very happy. very excited. >> reporter: but those cheers were quickly tempered by word of another delay. >> the wedding plans are still on hold. >> reporter: a week after federal judge vaughn walker struck down proposition 8, the voter-supported ban on same sex marriage, he ruled such marriages should proceed, but not yet. gay marriages can go forward, beginning on wednesday. >> the small little hick yum for today. now the law is on our side. just a matter of time. >> reporter: the delay gives opponents nearly a week to file an appeal. something they've already vowed to do. >> they have to first convince the court they have a substantial likelihood of ultimately winning this case, and second, that there be some irreparable injury suffered if there's not a stay. judge walker found these requirements weren't met. my prediction is the ninth
circuit is going to agree with that. >> we will take this to the supreme court, obviously. >> reporter: cities across california say they were ready to do weddings today. here in predominantly gay west hollywood, the city was expecting lines of people. now, they say, they'll do it all over next week. this couple was first in line at the courthouse in beverly hills this morning. paperwork in hand. >> if there was ever another window, we would leap through it. the moment that it became home. >> reporter: for now, that window remains closed, but couples who have been waiting years to tie the knot say they can wait another week. judge walker made clear, he does not think that the appeals will have much luck. he says simply, the opponents of gay marriage in his opinion, do not have standing with a higher court. of course, that decision will not be up to him, but up to the justices of the ninth circuit court in san francisco, and george, perhaps the justices of the united states supreme court.
>> there could be a petition to justice anthony kennedy. ryan, thank you. more signs today that the u.s. economy is slowing down. jobless claims ticked up to 484,000, the highest level since february, and stocks fell again. that's almost 400 points in three days. so, is this just a pause in the recovery or are we slipping into another recession? that's a question for david muir tonight. >> reporter: there is a real fear we could be headed for another recession. while economists argue that's not going to happen, what no one disputes is that this recovery has slowed to a near halt and now, many ask, is this the new normal? the figures were eye-opening, unexpected. the number of american workers filing new unemployment claims, ju jumping. >> any way the data is cut, the numbers are dismal for employment. >> reporter: and with more than 14 million americans looking for work, 25 million, if you count those who have given up, the economic domino effect is clear. families increasingly having
trouble holding onto their homes. new numbers just today reveal banks now taking over homes at a near record pace. more than 92,000 homes were taken by the banks in july. up 9% in just one month. by comparison, banks repo seszed about the same amount in all of 2005, before the recession. now that many in a month. >> what we're really dealing with right now is, an historically unprecedented psych that will make a couple more years to unwind before we can get back to anything resembling normal. >> reporter: and it's that reality that led to this chaos we saw yesterday, tens of thousands lined up in atlanta, just to get an application to get on a waiting list for housing help. the desperation led to fights. a real boiling point as unemployment remains at 9.5%. and now a growing number of economists ask, is this jobless recovery all part of the new normal? >> the new normal is a very slow economy. it's a slow economy with a high unemployment rate that is only
coming down gradually. the old normal was, the u.s. consumer was spending at a rapid rate, in excess of his or her income. the u.s. consumer can't go back to that. >> reporter: and there was this today. mortgage rates at their lowest level in decades, but so many asking, who can afford to buy? and for homeowners simply looking to refinance their current mortgages, so many are underwater, and the banks, as you pointed out this morning, simply don't want to touch that. >> the rates are low, but nothing they can do. david, thank you. we have more on the economy. general motors ceo announced he is stepping down, but he said the automaker is on the move. the news comes as the nation's biggest automaker says it posted a second quarter profit of $1.3 billion. and now gm may be ready to sell its stock to the public again. that would allow the government to begin selling its 61% stake in the economy. we are learning more about about the suspect arrested in connection of 20 vicious stabbing that left five dead.
the man was nabbed in atlanta, just as he got ready to board a flight bound for his native israel, and police say he's had several brushes with the law since coming to the u.s. over a decade ago. steve osunsami has the story. >> reporter: police in three states believe their serial killer is this man -- 33-year-old elias abuelazam. he's an israeli national, here legally. and he last worked at this michigan liquor store -- not far from one of the alleged stabbings. >> he said he was leaving to go see some relatives, and he never came back to work. >> i am totally shocked. totally. >> reporter: police say he was just minutes from leaving the country last night. trying to get on a 10:00 flight from atlanta to tel aviv with an expired israeli passport. investigators were onto him. they paged him on the airport intercom, and when he walked up to the ticket counter, they took him in. >> we don't have a motive yet. but as you know, many times, the motive doesn't appear until
later in the investigation. >> reporter: he's accused in at least 18 violent and unprovoked attacks near toledo, ohio, leesburg, virginia, and flynt michigan. >> 911. >> a guy has been stabbed several times in the stomach on the corner of collingwood and floyd. he is bleeding profusely. >> reporter: most of the men he's accused of hunting were african-american. five were killed. 17-year-old etwan wilson was stabbed in the chest and needed open heart surgery. he says the guy asked him for directions and then pulled out a knife. >> i ask myself and i ask god, "why?" >> reporter: police outside d.c. arrested this man a week ago and they let him go. they even found a hammer and a knife in his car. he now sits in a georgia jail, but any day now, could be sent to michigan to answer charges there. most of the victims were walking alone, at night. >> only thing that kept me alive, because i played dead. >> i've never hurt so much in my whole life. i've never come so close to death. >> reporter: they're hoping
police put him away. steve osunsami, abc news, atlanta. and there was some turbulence today for the flight attendant who became a cult hero when he slid down that jetblue emergency chute after a dispute with a passenger. several people on the flight say it was steven slater who instigated the confrontation and that he was drinking on the job. here's andrea canning. >> thank you all so much. it's been amazing, the support and the love. >> reporter: speaking mainly through his attorney, steven slater defended himself against new reports saying he was the only one who was acting inappropriately aboard the jetblue flight. >> the real point is, nub of that has anything to do with his career, his present status, his employment and the qualifications for his position. >> reporter: overnight, he became america's working class hero, but police sources tell abc news interviews from passengers discredit his story that a rude passenger bumped him on the head while trying to get her bag down from the overhead, the alleged incident that set off his tirade.
police say passengers told them that he was obnoxious from the start and that he had the gash on his head when they came on board. and to make matters worse, witnesses told police that slater was drinking during the flight and his eyes appeared bloodshot before takeoff. >> it just seemed to me, like, to be a really big smile and it caught my attention, as, oh, he's a little bit like a character out of a cartoon movie or something. >> reporter: one passenger told "the new york daily news" he was very disturbed. he was almost hysterical. the new details have some people starting to question steven slater's folk hero status on facebook. "that guy is a liar. keep worshipping at the altar of a dramaticpe." "i've got the perfect nickname for our new folk hero -- see ya l still, slater denies that he was drinking, and his lawyer insists his head was injured during the flight. remarkably, he says, the skies are still friendly. with all that's happened, why does he still want to be a flight attendant? >> that's his life.
flight attendant? >> that's his life. his father with a pilot. attendant. >> reporter: slater is actually still employed by jetblue, but he's been suspended. i asked his attorney if any other airlines have shown interest, he said, it's too early to tell. we know he has one offer from an adult beverage company. not sure which one. >> an creep ya, thank you. there are two new developments today in the fight over legal immigration. a study found that in 2008, 1 out of every 12 babies born here had parents in the country illegally. meanwhile, the senate held a rare august session to pass a $600 million bill that puts 1500 more agents and high tech equipment on the border with mexico. now, to pakistan, where 1,000 u.s. marines have landed to help in the relief effort. 20% of the country is now under water. there are new flood warnings and fears that more dams may burst, and the casualties continue to climb. the u.n. estimates 1500 people have died, 7 million need emergency assistance, and 20 million are at risk.
nick schifrin reports tonight from the flood zone. >> reporter: the water is rising. the anger is growing. and thousands of people are still trying not to drown. abdul wahab's family is stranded. when we arrived in his village, this is what we see. everything he owns is washed away. "i've lost my home, my wheat," he says. "we could onto save ourselves." and today, there are more worries. a nearby dam could burst this weekend, flooding the area even more, and so evacuations increase. this group swam for seven hours to get to shore with their buffalo. those buffalo are their only source of income. and the problem continues to be that the rain keeps coming and the rivers keep on flooding, from here in northwest pakistan, all the way to the southern tip of the country. the path of destruction is 600 miles long. survivors receive little help. some have to live in a truck stop. the only food that arrives is provided by private citizens. the government is accused of not doing enough.
even this visit, shown on national television, was staged. the people in beds are actors. as u.s. navy ship has arrived, tripling the number of american helicopters here. but they can't deliver food fast enough. there's all ready a food shortage, causing prices of basic items to quadruple. today is the first day of ramadan, when muslims fast during the day. but as one survivor put it, we don't have to fast, we're all ready dying of hunger. nick schifrin, abc news, jalala, pakistan. and still ahead on "world news," basic training, and we do mean basic. a reporter goes to afghanistan to see when their troops will be ready to fight on their own. "world news" investigates. so, do couples who pray together really stay together? a new study puts that old adage to the test. and, the bet that brought us one very unusual dish, one lovable creature named sam, and the ultimate children's classic. [ male announcer ] the financial headlines can be unsettling. but what if there were a different story? of one financial company
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of afghan troops who are clearly not ready to take over from u.s. forces any time soon. because when they say basic training in afghanistan, they mean very basic. so some of them haven't driven ever? >> about 95% to 98% of them have never driven. so, we're looking at about 90 to 95% that are also illiterate in the training as well, so we are having to teach them how to read the different gauges, everything on the vehicle, as well as any sort of safety warning or anything like that. >> reporter: to repeat those astonishing numbers, the captain told us up to 95% can't read their own language, and up to 98% can't drive. you're ready for traffic? >> translator: yes, he is ready. >> reporter: okay, good luck! last november, literacy courses were voluntary. only 13,000 of the nearly 200,000 security forces enrolled. u.s. officials acknowledge that last year, they thought the
training was so bad, it was deemed a failure. but they believe they've made great strides this year. that has meant revamping the program almost entirely. in addition to driver training, part of the eight-week course is mandatory reading, writing and simple mathematics. there is combat medicine, although extremely rudimentary. and the live fire exercises -- last year, only 35% passed the marksmanship course. they are up to 89% this year. >> probably the biggest key was focusing a lot more on the hands-on portions of the training. >> reporter: but by far, the most important change we saw is the increase in trainers. double what they were last year. >> when you are trying to develop an army of 134,000, you've really got to start putting the troops through training and we weren't doing that. >> reporter: we found some of the adverse trends have indeed been reversed.
but with trainers desperate to fill the ranks, even the most optimistic u.s. officials admit that success is not a foregone conclusion. martha raddatz, abc news, kabul. and when we come back, before you dig into that point of ben and jerry's, how much do you care if it's all natural? a new study says it may not be. [meow] desperate for nighttime heartburn relief? for many, nexium helps relieve heartburn symptoms caused by acid reflux disease. and for the majority of patients with prescription coverage for nexium, it can cost $30 or less per month. headache, diarrhea, and abdominal pain are possible side effects of nexium. other serious stomach conditions may still exist. ask your doctor if nexium can help relieve your heartburn symptoms. if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help.
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no comment from the company. kathy the comic strip, is calling it quits. for 34 years, she faced life, love and swim suit season with humor. and while the cartoon rolled her eyes at mom, the real cathy says her mother's encouragement made all the differences. cathy says good-bye october 3rd. you can see the first cathy coppic strip from back in 1976 by going to abc.c b kabc news.com/worldnews. and coming up, the question that helped countless parents get their kids to try something that helped countless parents get their kids to try something new at the dinner table. [ gasp [ rattling ] [ laughing ] [ announcer ] close enough just isn't good enough. - if your car is in an accident, - [ laughing continues ] make sure it's repaired with the right replacement parts.
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we end tonight w we end tonight with an anniversary. it was 50 years ago today that one of the most beloved children's books of all time first asked that unforgettable question. >> do you like green eggs and ham? >> reporter: of course, you know the story, sam i am, encouraging, begging his unnamed put-upon friend to try just try green eggs and ham. seen here in a 1973 cartoon. >> i do not like green eggs and ham. >> reporter: the classic came from a bet between the author
and his editor. could dr. seuss, using just 50 words, write an entertaining and intelligent children's book? in a word -- yes. seuss won the bet, $1 for each word. since then, identity bex one of the best-selling children's books of all time. read by american presidents. >> would you like them here or there? >> reporter: and miss americas. >> i do not like them here or there. >> reporter: heisman winners -- >> i would not like them anywhere. >> reporter: and hall of famers. >> i do not like them -- >> sam i am. >> reporter: the book hit the scythe geisst with jesse jack n jackson's famous reading of it on "saturday night live." >> i will not eat them on a train. >> reporter: you can check out food network for recipes. or not. it's been turn into a musical. ♪ i like green eggs and ham i o do ♪ >> reporter: and a pop song. ♪ not for me green eggs and ham ♪ >> reporter: sam and his friend
sit center stage at iowa's state fair, carved out of butter. there's even an app for that. >> green eggs and ham, by dr. seuss. >> reporter: the kids would be educated if they were also entertained. he found the kids books of the 1950s boring. so, though the videos are amusing, the celebrity leaders endeari endearing, what is most important is that children still learn to read by reading his books. >> i do so like green eggs and ham. thank you, thank you, sam i am. >> and that is "world news" for this thursday. i'm george stephanopoulos. for diane sawyer and all of us at a b bc news, have a great ni. i'll see you tomorrow on "gma."